To most people, fats are something viscious that are dangerous to our health and well-being and therefore should be avoided. Some people know that fats are essential ingredients of the diet and futhermore provide for tasty meals. Others acknowledge that certain fats like cholesterol are required for the body`s production of important hormones, such as sex hormones, as well as vitamin D and the bile you need in your stomach to break down the food. Many of us appreciate that the usaturated fats present in fish food provide for good health and longevity. However, few realize that fats are as important for life as proteins and genes. And probably very few people know that in terms of mass, fat is the most important part of our brain and the second most important of all other soft tissue.
The present book presents a multi-disciplinary perspective on the physics of life and the particular role played by fats in the form of lipids and the lipid-bilayer component of cell membranes. The book is aimed at undergraduate students and young research workers within physics, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, nutrition, as well as pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. The emphasis is on the physical properties of the lipid membrane seem as a soft and molecularly structured interface. By combining and synthesizing insights obtained from a variety of recent studies, an attempt is made to clarify what membrane structure is and how it can be quantitatively described. Furthermore, it is shown how lipid membrane structure and organization can control functional properties of membranes. The strategy of the book is to provide a bridge between, on the one side the microscopic world of membranes, i.e. the world of the molecules, and on the other side the macroscopic world, i.e. the world as we observe and sense it. This involves unnraveling the organizational principles wich govern the many types of structure that arise on length scales from the size of the individual molecule, across molecular assemblies of proteins and lipid domains in the range of nanometers, to the meso-and macroscopic of the whole cells.
A large number of mysteries concerning the role of fats and lipids for life remain unresoveld. Some of the more obvious mysteries involve the role of lipids in evolution, the need of lipid diversity for membrande funcion, the physical principles that control cell signaling by lipid, and the relatinships between nutrition and health. Many more mysteries are likely to turn up as we realize how life is a matter of fat.Tags: lipid membrane, Structure, lipid bilayer